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three pound (plus) butt

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Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:45 am
dwfII medium
medium

Posts: 192
Location: High desert of Central Oregon

Yesterday I cooked a three and a half pound boston butt. I started at about ten oclock in the morning and ran for nearly three hours at a steady 224*

Then after some fiddling with the firebox and some minor spiking to 235* I ran at 217*-228* till nearly seven thirty pm.

I figured it to be done at five pm...that's two hours per pound. It was at 158* and stuck at five pm

At seven-thirty I was nearly out of fuel in the smoker and the internal temp of the butt was at 186*. I took it out and foiled it and put it in a pre-heated 230* oven. Half an hour later the temp was at 183*. .

Anyway, the butt sat in the oven until nine thirty-five--when lo and hehold!! it was 194*!!. I took it out, wrapped it tightly in foil and wrapped it again in a towel and went to bed.

Mi corazon generally stays up late and she pulled it about 11pm. It actually turned out pretty good (at least it looked good, waking up in the semi-dark of our bedroom at eleven-thirty). She said there was a moderately large piece of fat still in the middle.

I gotta say though that a 12 hour cook for a three and a half pound butt is ridiculous. That's over three hours per pound. My smoker was/is working good. The probes are accurate. The temp is being taken at grill level. I thought BB was supposed to be the easiest cut of all and very forgiving. It just ain't right!! Maybe I'll stick to beer butt chix and baby backs.
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In the high desert of Central Oregon
DWFII
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wishing for: Vicmarc 200

Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:43 am
chunk well done
well done

Posts: 694
Location: Bluemont, VA
yea, welcome to the world of smoking. when i cook bb's or brisket they always seems to take forever. last brisket i did was a small 5 lb'er and it took 15 hours!
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Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:48 am
Longmill well done
well done

Posts: 2667
Location: North Carolina
That's why no one in their right mind should give you a firm cook time for a piece of meat. 8) There's no real way of knowing what it'll take to get it to that magic number. I've been surprised both ways -- faster than I anticipated, as well as much longer.

While we can use experience to guesstimate the time based on our pits, weather conditions, etc. There's one thing that we can't figure. That's the age of the animal. Young and tender - middle aged - old and tuff. Easier to do with chicken due to the sizes. Beyond that, generally age is the mystery factor that can't be calculated beforehand.

Chances are your next one will go much faster! Don't give up on them yet. That's some mighty fine eating you'll be missing.

Just my 2-cents
Longmill
CharGriller Super Pro SFB
Charcoal GOSM
Sunbeam gas grill

Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:09 pm
dwfII medium
medium

Posts: 192
Location: High desert of Central Oregon

thanks to you all,

I know, I know...I may be a little leary at this moment but we haven't eaten oany of the pulled pork yet! I'm sure I'll forget about what a chore it was and try again.

Planning a fairly good size cook (8-12 people) for sometime in September. Here's a couple of ideas/questions I'd like to run by you folks:

I figure to do some baby backs and perhaps a small chuck roast on the day of the cook...and a five lb. butt the day before. I think one of my problems was doing the bottom round at the same time. It went in later and came out sooner and I think I had the lid open too much. So from that I'd guess that if a feller was gonna cook a butt (or two) butt is all he should do and they probably should be close to the same size. What do you guys think?

Also if a person gets a temperature spike how do you lower the temps? I "burped" the main chamber when the temps got above 230 and i might have gotten a little too free with that activity . Is there a tried and true, and perferably fast, way to lower temps?

If I manage to suceed in cooking a butt the day before? How does one go about warming the pulled pork up without over cooking it?

Finally, we get a lot of wind in this area , especially in the afternoon (hence the temp spikes) I wonder if that slowed things down a bit...despite the grill temp readings?
In the high desert of Central Oregon
DWFII
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CGPro w/sfb
WSM
Weber kettle
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Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:57 pm
Longmill well done
well done

Posts: 2667
Location: North Carolina
Temp spikes -- When I'm doing a butt, I ignore them, to some degree, as long as they stay around 250* or lower. When I open the chamber or add a new load of charcoal to the SFB, I usually get a grate temp drop. Solution, open the SFB side vent for a few minutes. Keep eye on the temp, until it comes into the range I want. Then, just nudge the vent closed to the amount that'll hold that temp. If I'm heading for a big spike, completely close the vent for a bit. It' only when the temp really gets out of hand that I burp the main chamber or the SFB chamber.

The best way to warm pulled pork is to vacuum seal it with a FoodSaver. When you get ready to heat, drop the bag into a pot of boiling water to re-heat. If you have a lot of pork, make several small packages rather than one huge one. The small packages heat through quicker.

If you don't have a food saver, add a little apple juice to the pulled pork. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and re-heat in the oven. The apple juice will help keep it moist while re-heating.

As long as the food uses the same temp range for low and slow, or indirect, you can do a variety of items at the same time. Start the one(s) that take the longest time first. Have a cooler handy to hold any items that come off sooner than anticipated.

When adding items, basting, etc. try to time these events for the same time. Don't lift the lid now to add an item, then 10 minutes later to baste another one. For low and slow the ideal is to close the lid when the food goes on the grate and lift it when it's done. No peeking or anything else inbetween those two times. I know you have to, from time to time, :) so just keep them to a bare minimum.

If you haven't seen it, here's the time line on 18 lbs of butt I did yesterday. I tried to keep the grate temp in the 230-240 range for these. http://www.barbecuebible.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=5013

Hope this helps.
Longmill
CharGriller Super Pro SFB
Charcoal GOSM
Sunbeam gas grill

Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:24 pm
kiltedcook well done
well done

Posts: 305
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
I just did a 5ish pounder on Friday and it took all of 16 hours. But... IT turned out absolutely awsome.
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Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:28 pm
dwfII medium
medium

Posts: 192
Location: High desert of Central Oregon

Longmill,

Wow! 230-240*? I was burping my lid just when it was coming into the range you cook at! That might account for some of the time! I tried to hold my grate temp at 224 most of the day. But I had the alarm set on my probe for 230. My Cg might actually have been happier at 230-240* especially in the afternoon wind.

Do you do briskets at that temp too?

It's good to get this kind of feedback. I do appreciate it.
In the high desert of Central Oregon
DWFII
Image
CGPro w/sfb
WSM
Weber kettle
wishing for: Vicmarc 200

Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:47 pm
Longmill well done
well done

Posts: 2667
Location: North Carolina
Butts and picnics are very fatty, thus very forgiving. Other cuts of meat won't be as kind, in most cases, when you push the limits.

Sorry I can't help with brisket or other cuts of beef. Due to the high cholestrol, it's rare, indeed for us to have beef. Oh, how I miss the stuff............. :cry:

Longmill
CharGriller Super Pro SFB
Charcoal GOSM
Sunbeam gas grill

Post Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:42 pm
6 burner medium
medium

Posts: 137
Location: Windham County Connecticut

Just did 2- 7 lbs picnis it took 14 hours.... They came out great... Only my second smoke.....
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Post Mon Aug 29, 2005 10:16 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
dwfII, I agree that cooking butts and briskets are a loooong cook that takes extra time and effort. That's why when I cook them I like to cook several at a time. Cooking multiple hunks of meat at the same time adds a little more time to the cook, but in the long run it is a lot shorts than several separate cooks.

I'll not repeat all the good advice that Longmill gave, but would add that while pork butts are very forgiving to higher temperatures and a but of neglect, briskets get more consistent good results when cooked at lower temperatures and I think their plateaus are a little more defined and may hang there a little longer.

Even when cooking multiple pieces of meat, keep in mind that each one cooks on it's own schedule and will need to be watched individually near finishing time. As a large piece of meat could be done before a smaller one depending of fat content and muscle density.
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Post Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:01 pm
dwfII medium
medium

Posts: 192
Location: High desert of Central Oregon

Thanks to all of you for your help.

I have to say that we ate the pulled pork from that looong cook a day later (yesterday) and I got to tell you it was better than even my wildest fantasies. I've had pulled pork here and there (we have two BBQ places in my area--one Carolina and one Memphis style) and the memphis pork couldn't hold a candle fresh to mine a day old.

Even my sometimes, wanna-be vegan daughter tried some and loved it.

I hope you all are right and I hope I've learned something because I'd hate to have to pay that price again even for something as priceless as this pulled pork. I guess I'd do it...but not too often. 12 hours, yes...when I expect it and for a 5 or 6 pounder not a measly 3 pounder. For one thing the next time I do this I'm gonna start the night before, get everything set up, and light my fire at about 4:30am.

And for my big cook coming up, I'll do the butt(s) and /or chuck roast the day before and re-heat it in a crock pot.

Lots to learn here...wish I'd gotten into this about 20 years sooner.
In the high desert of Central Oregon
DWFII
Image
CGPro w/sfb
WSM
Weber kettle
wishing for: Vicmarc 200

Post Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:32 pm
BillyQ medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 200
Location: El Paso, Texas
I'd like to throw in my two cents here is I could. Whenever I do a BB, i'll smoke it for as long as I can in my smoker, then right before bed, I transfer it to a disposable roasting pan and stick it in the oven at 225, and cook it over night. I really cant tell the difference between the oven finishing it, and it being in the smoker for the whole cook. This method works especially well for parties or large cooks when you need to have an exact time for the food to be done. Yeah, it's probably cheating, but my guests usually enjoy the finished product.

Post Mon Aug 29, 2005 3:22 pm
dwfII medium
medium

Posts: 192
Location: High desert of Central Oregon

smokey bones,

What kind of pit it that in your signature?
In the high desert of Central Oregon
DWFII
Image
CGPro w/sfb
WSM
Weber kettle
wishing for: Vicmarc 200


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